Thursday, June 02, 2016

In politics and property ownership, there’s no space for Nagaland's women

In Scroll.in

June 1, 2016

Photograph of women from Sumi village in Phek district spinning homegrown cotton.



While the recent Assembly elections have been the subject of endless chatter in the media, in Nagaland, the question that hangs in the air is: when will we see women governing the state?

Nagaland attained statehood in 1963, but since then, it has not elected a single woman to its Assembly. It has also only ever sent one woman to Parliament – Rano M Shazia, who was elected to the Lok Sabha back in 1977.

This reality pervades through all levels of governance in the state.

Traditional village councils, formalised through the passage of the Nagaland Village Councils Act 1978, have hardly any female representation. And though laws have been enacted providing for 33% reservation of women in municipal and town councils, their implementation has been halted, as a result of which there is not a single woman in these bodies.

Read the rest of the article here.

1 comment:

Raghavan S said...

The article is an eye opener to the plight and status of women in one of the most backward states of India. A pause and in-depth analysis would bring out the fact that Naga women have to work more and deliver for an improved life and representation. Statistical details throw the fact that population of men is more compared to that of women, less than 30% women live in urban Nagaland, literacy level of Naga women is less than 50% and majority women in rural area have barely crossed school. While the article brings issues through which when viewed, Naga women appear to be deprived of their legitimate rights, the above macro data brings to light that Naga women have to improve themselves through measures commissioned by government on equality, education and empowerment. In a strong democracy like ours, improved status especially for women, is definitely possible but any demand without being equipped and armed through facilities provided would only retreat them to a wicket weaker than where they are now.

Decades back, Women in Kuwait were in no better position than the Naga Women portrayed in the article. Kuwaiti women breaking from certain traditional Islamic principles, ventured and pursued higher education and demanded rights in their country first of which is the right to vote and be represented in the government of Kuwait. A union of women intelligent enough to work against men of their country without use of arms but armed with talent and knowledge became a force to reckon with and could get their demands sanctioned. Today Kuwait women enjoy a lot more freedom than what they used to two decades back.

Naga Women preferring to come out of the state, tend to take up menial jobs and rarely give importance for their own education or even that of their children. Wealth of the family notwithstanding, realization on the importance of education for better standard of living and capability to handle demands of life is absent in Naga women. Success of Naga women in their endeavour both within the state and outside at work place would be possible only with a change in mindset and willingness to mend themselves to undertake strain, learn and come up against odds. Otherwise any facility extended to pull them out of deprived state will end up in results not commensurate to facilities resulting in women remaining backward and government’s finances depleted.